Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have unveiled a significant agreement to enhance travel connectivity and ease the pilgrimage journey for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan.
Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, recently revealed the new partnership, which entails an increase in flight frequency between the two nations and reduced costs for Pakistani pilgrims embarking on Hajj and Umrah.
As part of this initiative, a prominent Saudi delegation, led by Minister Al-Rabiah, embarked on a four-day visit to Pakistan. During this visit, the minister inaugurated the Nusuk Exhibition in Karachi, a pioneering platform aimed at simplifying pilgrimage procedures. This platform empowers pilgrims to personalize their accommodations and services, facilitating an enriched experience.
The Nusuk platform is set to expedite the issuance of Umrah visas within a mere 24 hours and extend visa durations from 30 to 90 days, as stated by Minister Al-Rabiah. He emphasized that this approach enables Pakistani pilgrims to explore Saudi Arabia's tourist, historical, and cultural destinations extensively.
Al-Rabiah stated, "Our goal is to make Umrah an unforgettable historical experience."
The Nusuk exhibition, hosted in Karachi, serves as a significant congregation point for both Saudi and Pakistani tourist and Umrah companies, fostering collaboration and exchange of insights.
Reflecting on the deep-rooted bilateral ties between the two nations, Minister Al-Rabiah highlighted the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as instrumental in nurturing these relations.
The shared efforts have led to a notable surge in the number of Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan, with the figure exceeding one million last year.
The discussions during the visit extended to the potential expansion of Pakistan's Hajj quota, contingent on the outcomes of the nation's latest census. Matters concerning pilgrim facilities and the prospective extension of the Makkah Road project to other Pakistani cities were also explored.
Throughout their visit, the Saudi delegation engaged in meetings with Pakistan's President, Caretaker Prime Minister, and Chief of Army Staff, signifying the significance of the partnership.
Upon their arrival, Minister Al-Rabiah received a warm welcome from Aneeq Ahmed, Minister of Religious Affairs, and Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Al-Maliki. This collaborative agreement stands as a testament to the enduring relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, underpinned by shared values and objectives.